Advanced Search
Business | Metro | Nation | World | Sports | Features | Specials | Delta Stories
"Flash marriage" stirs public debate
14/11/2005 13:14

Wendy Zhang/ Shanghai Daily news

In such a fast-moving city as Shanghai, people rush to get things done as quickly as possible. Marriage is no exception. 
A large-scale speed-dating event, which sees marriage as its logical outcome, is scheduled to kick off at the Shanghai Everbright Convention & Exhibition Center on December 3, specifically for young white-collar employees.
The event, covering several activities including 'making friends', 'speed-dating', 'together with parents' and 'free activities', is expected to attract 500 hopefuls.
According to the rules of the game, at the 'make friends' area, participants of the opposite sex can talk with each other freely and swap their phone numbers and addresses for further contact. When two people are willing to take things further, they can go to the 'speed-dating' area where they are not allowed to talk with others from the opposite sex and others are not allowed to disturb them, either. At the 'together with parents' area, parents are invited to give suggestions to their children, and participants are free to attend various activities at the 'free activities' area.
"The ultimate goal of the event is to make participants appreciate the responsibilities of marriage first and then fall in love with each other gradually," explained Bai Naimu, a spokesman for the event. Many young white-collar workers are seeking unrestricted freedom and don't want to get married, and the event is a brave effort to emphasise marriage and family responsibility, Bai pointed out, adding that they will hold special river-cruise weddings free of charge for those who succeed in finding their Mr. or Mrs. Right at the event.
However, the 'flash marriage' model has aroused heated public debate. "Will such marriages be long-term and stable," many white-collar employees asked. Many couples who were in love with each other for many years prior to marriage also end up divorced, Bai answered, adding that if the 'flash marriage' couple divorce, they will feel less hurt when compared with those who have been together for a long time.
Such events offer a good opportunity for people to get to know each other, but they should think twice before tying the knot, a sociologist suggested.